It seems Facebook is again in another legal storm. Following its decision to attend a number of grilling sessions this year with lawmakers over data breaches and failure to tackle political interference, the social media giant is again set to face an international committee. According to TechCrunch, the latter consists of 22 members from seven countries.
Richard Allan, Vice President of Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), will face in London elected members from the Parliaments of Britain, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Latvia, and Singapore next week.
“An unprecedented international grand committee comprising 22 representatives from seven parliaments will meet in London next week to put questions to Facebook about the online fake news crisis and the social network’s own string of data misuse scandals,” the official report says.
Apparently, it was the Committee itself that offered the opportunity for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence over video link. It turns out, however, the Facebook founder refused.
“Facebook has offered Richard Allan, vice president of policy solutions, which the Committee has accepted,” a spokesperson from Britain’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) parliamentary committee was quoted as saying.
The committee’s formation came in the wake of recent New York Times investigation, which suggests that the tech company hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm. The move “dug up dirt on its competitors” and “the senior leadership team became aware of the breaches and the spread of Russian disinformation”.
Facebook investors have increased pressure on Zuckerberg as well, especially since he faced intense scrutiny in US Congress earlier this year. The pressure from the investors meant that he should step down as Chairman. And as always, Zuckerberg refused and did not bend the knee.
Facebook’s outgoing Head of Communications and Policy Elliot Schrage has taken full responsibility for hiring the Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm Definers Public Affairs.
Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, on the other hand, have now asked Nick Clegg, the former UK Deputy Prime Minister and new Head of Global Policy and Communications, to review all the work with communications consultants.
The Committee, however, has been vocal about its intention to involve Zuckerberg. This is due to the fact that it still believes Zuckerberg to be the appropriate person to answer important questions about data privacy, safety, security and sharing in Facebook.
In related news, MPs are clamoring that advertisers should boycott tech companies like Facebook and Google. They believe that these companies must do so until they can do more in tackling terrorism.
Social media companies and image hosting firms are reportedly under heavy pressure to get rid of content from their sites. YouTube, in particular, was under scrutiny for videos that offer instructions about making bombs from simple ingredients, most of which could be bought from Amazon.
The chairman of the intelligence committee named Dominic Grieve says that it is “a matter of scandal” and, thus, urges businesses to employ pressure on communications service providers. By doing so, he believes that it could cut profits for Facebook and Google, among other tech companies.
The Conservative Party, of which Grieve is part of, reportedly spent about £2.1 million on Facebook ads in the run up to 2017 general election.
Meanwhile, a lot of tech companies have been saying about the goal to do more. In 2017, the search engine giant Google announced its decision to hire more than 10,000 staff for the task of monitoring YouTube for unsuitable content.
There is no doubt that technology can help, especially since YouTube claimed to have automated tools. This technology, according to the online video streaming platform, is able to flag around 98 percent of violent extremism for review.